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Committee sifts through hospital estimates

Jeremy Browning

The Memorial Hospital building committee took the first official look Tuesday at a lengthy report that summarizes the costs of building a new hospital at each of the five proposed construction sites in Craig.

After discussing for two hours the three-ring binder full of data and narratives prepared by project manager, the committee had assembled a list of questions and points of clarification to be answered by a Hammes Company representative at the next meeting.

Committee Chairman Ron Danner started the meeting by explaining what the committee would not do.



“We’re not going to be selecting a site,” Danner said.

Instead, Danner explained the goal of the meeting would be to begin sifting through the information, identifying points of clarification and areas of concern.



The report looks at building a 72,000-square-foot facility at five different locations, including the existing site.

It also contains an analysis for building a partial replacement hospital at the current location and reusing parts of the existing building.

The cost of the project ranges from a low of $21.6 million for the plan that reuses the existing building to a high of $28.2 million for a facility at the Colorado Northwestern Community College’s future location, according to a summary prepared by Hammes.

A committee member noted that the costs are considerably higher than the $18 million figure estimated to be the maximum amount the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would approve.

The committee discussed the possibility of asking voters to approve a measure that would combine

the bonds HUD would approve

with tax money to make up the difference.

That proposal would not hit the ballot until 2004 at the earliest.

But as Danner explained at the outset of the meeting, a major component still has not been fully addressed — TMH’s debt

capacity.

As the meeting ended, it became clear that at this stage in the process, questions are still being generated faster than they are being answered. Long before TMH solicits the opinions of voters or the general public, the committee will invite a Hammes representative and the project architect to explain some of the finer points of the report.

The next building committee meeting may be as early as next week

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.


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